SARANAC LAKE - Secrecy is paramount when it comes to the annual Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Rotary Show, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11 at the Harrietstown Town Hall.
Not the event itself, but the Rotary Show Dancers, an 82-year tradition. The dancers are typically a gaggle of men in drag - cushions in bras, wigs, dresses and lipstick - dancing to musical numbers designed to complement the Carnival theme. This year, it's "Medieval Times."
So, will there be knights and princesses and gallantry at the Rotary Show? And how many of the Rotary Show Dancers will be damsels in distress? Only the dancers know, and they're sworn to secrecy.
"We don't even know," said Margo Nagle, member of the Saranac Lake Rotary Club and chair of the one-person Program Committee, in charge of signing up the entertainment. They don't tell her anything about the dance routine, and the practice sessions are held behind closed doors.
Rotarian Bill Plumb is the chair of the Rotary Show Dancers committee, and he's not talking. Multiple phone messages have been left unanswered.
But Nagle did reveal the lineup for the Rotary Show. And look there! The Rotary Show Dancers are listed at the bottom of the program. The public will have to wait even longer to see what these men have in store for their entertainment.
"I'm really excited about this year's Rotary Show," said Mary Brown, Rotary Show co-chair. "We expect another sellout, we've got a great lineup of acts, and it's going to be a lot of fun for everybody."
The Rotary Show venue is the historic Harrietstown Town Hall, built in 1927, featuring an expansive wooden floor, which will be lined with packed seats, balcony seating to the back and the two sides of the hall on the second floor, and a full stage. Colorful Winter Carnival banners from years past will be hung from the balconies, and decorations will provide a festive backdrop on stage.